INTERVIEWS

2017-01-18 22:33:00

Xinhua: Bulgarian President-elect vows to further strengthen ties with China


by Wang Xinran, Marian Draganov

SOFIA, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Bulgaria's President-elect Rumen Radev says he would work to strengthen the relationship between his country and China upon taking office.

Bulgaria highly values its longstanding relations with China, and "we consider China not only as a traditional friend, but also as a top priority partner for today and tomorrow," Radev said in an interview with Xinhua on Wednesday.

The friendly bilateral relationship between the two countries is based on solid mutual respect and trust, and there is a political will and desire to strengthen cooperation in every way, he said.

"It is within my prerogatives to work for strengthening the existing excellent political climate of mutual trust, partnership and respect between our two countries," said Radev.

He was happy to note that in recent years there has been a very active exchange of high-level visits and contacts between the two countries.

"We would like to further strengthen and balance our bilateral political dialogue and contacts at all levels," he said.

"One of my very important tasks after I enter my new office will be to deepen contact with China's leadership at the highest level," Radev said.

According to the Bulgarian president-to-be, China is a partner of paramount importance to Bulgaria in fields like agriculture, education, tourism, people-to-people exchanges and others.

Radev said his country's priority is "to attract Chinese investments and expand Bulgarian exports to China." He said his country welcomes Chinese projects in energy, infrastructure, transport and logistics.

Bulgaria also actively supports China's initiative to enhance ties with the Central and Eastern European Countries (16+1).

"This initiative is a useful supplement to both EU-China relations and our bilateral country-to-country dialogue and cooperation. We consider it an important platform for enhancement and further development of bilateral relations with China," Radev said.

"Our joint task now is to define mutually beneficial business models for the successful implementation of joint projects in accordance with the EU, Bulgarian and Chinese legal norms and interests," he added.

Bulgaria is also very interested in China's Belt and Road Initiative, "which we believe will promote connectivity between Europe and China," Radev said.

"We are ready to play an active role in the development of the transport corridors along the Silk Road Economic Belt," he added.

According to Radev, improving connectivity between Europe and Asia provides new possibilities to develop beneficial cooperation, and foster mutual understanding and trust.

"Our sincere desire is to see more practical results and projects realized in Bulgaria within the 16+1 and the Belt and Road Initiative, with more Chinese investments, and a bigger Chinese presence and participation in industrial and high-technology parks in Bulgaria," Radev explained.

Bulgaria fully adheres to the one-China policy and considers Taiwan as an inseparable part of the People's Republic of China. "That is a consistent and principled policy and I can assure you that Bulgaria will continue to abide by it," Radev said.

On the issues of the South China Sea issue, Radev calls upon the parties concerned to address the problem through dialogue and in accordance with the international law and the United Nations Convention.

Radev was elected President of Bulgaria on Nov. 13 last year, and will take office on Sunday.